A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
Absolutely fascinating story in the US regarding an attempt to open an Adult Video Store in North Haven, Connecticut. It seems key to the planning and zoning officials in settling this long-running action, that the booths (where people pay to watch porn) can only accommodate one person (whether this is like airline seats and based on super thin people I don’t know).
It’s fascinating to see how the Supreme Court in Connecticut regarded the private booths (or ‘buddy’ booths), that is to say, that they found them to be an accessory to the business, allowing people to preview pornographic films before purchasing them. This is in contrast to the booths being a separate business in their own right, i.e where people go to watch a film or to use as a cruising/public sex space. It is of course true, that the booths can be viewed as an ‘accessory’ to the business, but the local officials – who attempted to block the opening (as it were) of the store – got themselves in a terrible socio-legal mess. In much the same way that a restaurant critique does not merely look upon a meal with a critical eye, but also consumes with his mouth, one presumably does not merely ‘review’ pornography in a botth with a critical eye, but seeks to find out how it, well, ‘stands up’.
Officials seemed OK with the basic principle that people masturbate and thus sometimes buy pornography (I may be being generous in thinking they accept this link), so they didn’t oppose the store per se, but they were not terribly keen on people masturbating in a commercial space (home fine, private booth in a store bad), and tried therefore to argue that the booths shouldn’t be allowed. Having ultimately been forced to accept such ‘public’ masturbation they are absolutely firm that it must be alone. They were (I’m guessing) concerned that hordes of men would descend on the business, ejaculating left right and centre, and pumping (if you pardon the phrase) money into the local economy.
Such concern reveals that they thought it would be popular. After all, if you thought the store would be a flop, you wouldn’t give a toss (OK, bad choice of words). They clearly feel there is a demand for greater opportunities to masturbate in public – so much demand that they used taxpayers money to stop people from masturbating. Rather fascinating when you think about it.
Check out the full story and thanks to David Downs for first alerting me to this story on Google+.